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Planning a Trip? What Are Your Best Pet Care Options?

Happy dog with bowl

What are the best Pet Care Options for your pets?

As a pet owner, it is likely that one one of the things on the top of your list when planning a trip is what are your best pet care options for your beloved pet.

While some pet care options may not fit your needs others may be exactly what you are looking for. Here are a few to consider. 

Boarding

Boarding is a popular option, but here are some things to think about:

  1. Most kennels are very loud and can cause undue stress to your dog. If the facility boards both dogs and cats the constant barking of dogs can be especially stressful for your cat.
  2. Does your pet really want to leave home? Most pets do best if left in their own environment, with their own beds, toys and the familiar smells of home.
  3. Car travel to and from the boarding facility can be stressful to both dogs and cats.
  4. While you take every precaution, your pet is still at a higher risk of contracting a disease.
  5. Cats are not big on any kind of change to their surroundings.

Friends and Family

If you want to save money it is safe to say most friends or family members will not charge you to care for your pets. But before imposing on your family or friends here are some things to consider:

  1. Will they know what to do if there is a true emergency? Will they know the signs if your pet is ill and what to do?
  2. Will your pet be their first priority? What happens if they have other plans or commitments?
  3. While they won’t say it outright, asking your friends or family to care for your pet is an imposition especially if you are not paying them.
  4. Can you comfortably tell your friends and family how to care for your pet without sounding like you are their boss?
  5. How will you handle it if they don’t do a good job or something happens to your pet while under their care?
  6. Will they have a backup plan? If your friends or family have an emergency who will take over the care of your pet? Do leave it up to them, make sure you have a contingency plan in place.
  7. Will they send you regular updates? It’s a lot to ask of your friends and family.
  8. Of course, as stated earlier, it is definitely the most affordable option.

Professional Pet Sitter

With a Professional Pet Sitter, your pets get to stay where they really want to, home. A Professional Pet Sitter is skilled to care for all types of pets and will visit your pets as many times per day as you would like and tries to keep your pet on their normal routine.

When you are looking to hire a Professional Pet Sitter here is what you should look for:

  1. Are they true Professional Pet Sitters with bonding and insurance? What other qualifications do they have? You want a business that operates full-time as a pet care company.
  2. Are your visits guaranteed? What is their backup plan?
  3. Do they provide you with a contract? A true Professional Pet Sitter will have a contract that protects you and your pets.
  4. Will they send you updates? A Professional Pet Sitter should happily send you updates and pictures of your beloved pets.

How Can Dances with Dogs Help?

We offer Professional Pet Sitting and Dog Walking as well as professional dog and puppy training. Please contact us if you feel Professional Pet Sitting would be the best option for your pets.

 

 

Destructive Behavior in Dogs: Causes and Solutions

Golden retriever ripping up bed

Destructive behavior comes in many forms.

Chewing, digging and playing are all very normal behaviors for dogs, but sometimes they can get out of hand and become destructive behaviors. One of our dogs destroyed two sofas in a day. Any destructive behavior can be very frustrating, but there are things you can do to help your dog and correct these behaviors.

Why is your dog destructive?

There are several causes for destructive behavior. Here are a few of the more common ones.

  • Separation anxiety – This cause deserves to be at the top of the list as it probably the most common reason a dog exhibits destructive behavior. Dogs with separation anxiety can exhibit behaviors such as tearing through walls, urinating and defecating in the house, excessive vocalizing, and other destructive behaviors. These dogs are so attached to their families that they frantically greet their owners when they return home and may follow their owners from room to room. There are a lot of reasons for a dog having separation anxiety from a death in the family (human or another pet) to a move to a new home. 
  • Boredom – if your dog is not getting enough social interaction or exercise her or she may expend that excess energy on your furniture.
  • Teething – If your puppy is chewing on things it shouldn’t be, it may be because they are teething and their gums are painful. Chewing can relieve the discomfort.
  • Attention-getting – Sometimes negative attention is better than no attention. If you are not reinforcing your dog for being good, but reprimanding your dog for being bad, your dog may be being destructive just to get attention from you.
  • Fear – If your dog is afraid of loud noises such as fireworks or thunderstorms your dog may be trying to escape which can be destructive. Besides your doors, walls, windows and door frames being damaged this can be particularly dangerous for your dog. A panicked dog that is trying to escape can be severely injured.
  • Barrier frustration – Some dogs, like some people, don’t like to be confined to small spaces. So, if you are confining your dog to a crate, bathroom or laundry room they may be destroying things because of being confined in such a small space. Dogs with separation anxiety are prone to dislike being confined.
  • Investigating – Dogs investigate by using their mouths and paws. Your dog’s destructive behavior may be caused by him or her checking out something new or unfamiliar to them.
  • Playing – Your dog’s normal play behavior may result in damaging objects. Dogs love to dig, chew, run, shred, but they may be shredding your sofa, chewing your shoes, or digging up your garden.
  • Hungry – If you are inconsistent in feeding your dog you may have a dog who is destroying things because they are hungry and in the search for food.
  • Not feeling well – Just as with teething puppies an adult dog with gum issues may take to chewing to alleviate the discomfort. Dogs with pica will eat non-food items. Make sure to talk to your veterinarian. 

What you can do to help curb your dog’s destructive behavior:

For dogs who are bored or left alone for long periods of time you can hire a dog walker to come in while you are away. A professional dog walker knows how to alleviate the boredom and give your dog some much-needed exercise and mental stimulation.

If your dog is destructive because they are not getting enough exercise, get out there and walk or play with your dog. If you don’t have the time you can hire a professional dog walker or pet sitter to come in and tire your dog out. A tired dog is a better-behaved dog.

Keep your dog on a regular feeding schedule to help prevent him or her trying to make their own meals.

If you have a teething puppy make sure you are providing enough appropriate things for them to chew on.

For more serious issues such as separation anxiety, fears or phobias please consult with an animal behaviorist.

And if you suspect your dog’s destructive behavior is caused by a medical issue please consult your veterinarian.

Does your dog exhibit destructive behavior? Contact us for more information on our dog and puppy training as well as our dog exercise programs.

When You Can’t Play Outside: 6 Indoor Activities for Dogs

English bulldog lying down white background

Is your dog bored? These fun indoor activities for dogs should brighten their day.

Getting our dogs enough exercise can sometimes be a challenge when you are both stuck inside. It may too hot during the summer months and the summer thunderstorms can certainly hamper outdoor activities. But our dogs need to be engaged both physically and mentally. Here are six indoor activities for dogs that will certainly keep them entertained.

Golden retriever playing tug with rope toy

Playing tug is one of the great indoor activities for dogs.

Tug of War

A good game of tug can be played just about anywhere and is a great way to tire your dog out. There are several tugs toys on the markets. Try to get a tug toy with a handle and that is long enough to keep your hands safely away from enthusiastic teeth.

Dog sniffing wooden box

Find it is a great indoor activity

Find It!

Hide your dog’s favorite treats around the house. Make sure your dog doesn’t see your hiding palaces and keep the treats small to avoid having your dog eat too much. You can also do this with your dog’s food. This is a great way to keep your dog’s mind engaged and satisfy his natural instinct to forage for food.

Dog with paws over eyes

Hide and Seek is fun and a great training game too!

Hide and Seek

You read that right. Hide and seek is a fun way to play with your dog indoors while letting them use their nose to find you. It is also a great way to strengthen their come when called. How to play: Put your dog in a wait and then go hide. Get creative hide behind doors or furniture, in closets or bathrooms. Call your dog’s name once and have him come to find you. Reward him mightily when he finds you and you will be reinforcing him for coming when called. Hide and Seek is a perfect way to train your dog while having fun.

Blue treat dispensing dog toy

Using an interactive treat dispensing toy can be used to feed your dog their meal too.

Interactive Toys

There are many interactive toys on the market. These toys can be stuffed with treats or your dog’s food and your dog must figure out how to get the food out. Some of these toys can be filled with fresh fruit, canned pumpkin, yogurt, canned dog food, peanut butter, etc., frozen and then given to your dog. These frozen treats will keep your dog busy for quite some time.

Small dog with yellow ball in mouth

Playing ball indoors can expend some of your dog’s pent-up energy.

Let’s Play Ball!

Ball? In the house? Yes! All you need is a hallway or an open area and a ball. Toss the ball down the hall for your dog to retrieve.

Westie up on hind legs with girl

Learning new tricks is fun for your dog.

Teach Them A New Trick

Learning never stops for us or our dogs, so take this time to teach your dog a new trick or use this time to freshen up already learned behaviors. Either way, your dog will be working their body and brain.

These are great indoor activities for dogs that will keep your dog entertained inside when you can’t play outside.

What are your favorite indoor activities for dogs?

What Does Pet Sitting Cost in Miami?

Dog paw and human hand

There is more to pet care than the pet sitting cost.

You are planning a business trip or getaway and you have decided to hire a professional pet sitter, but what does pet sitting cost?

On your search, you will find a wide range of prices and while your budget is important, you will be entrusting your beloved pets to someone so there are a few things that you should also consider when choosing a Pet Sitter.

What is Their Experience?

Experience matters when it comes to the care of your pets. Make sure your pet sitter knows not only how to care for your pets, but what to do in an emergency. If you have a shy or fearful pet your pet sitter should know how to work with your pet in order to keep your pet as calm and relaxed as possible. Read our blog on why you should use a professional pet sitter.

How Long Have They Been in Business?

The age of a business is important for many reasons. If they have been in business for a long time it means they have had time to implement proper procedures in order to provide the best pet care possible. Being in business for many years means they are serious about their business and won’t be leaving you to look for another pet sitter next time you need to take a trip.

Do They Have a Back-Up Plan?

An emergency can happen to ANYONE, so having a backup plan matters! What would you do if your pet sitter couldn’t complete their visits to your pets because they had an emergency? Who will care for your pets? What would you do? When hiring a professional pet sitter, you want to know what their back up plan is so that you can relax while you are away.

Do They Use Online Scheduling Technology?

While it may not seem important on the surface, it is actually a very important part. Scheduling software not only makes sure you are scheduled properly and not jotted down on a piece of paper that can get lost or written on a calendar somewhere. It ensures that everyone who needs to know your pets’ care schedule does. Our scheduling software sends an email out each day to our pet sitters so that they always have access to their schedules no matter what. Scheduling software ensures that your pets’ care instructions are always available to your pet sitter and their back up sitter if needed. All care instructions are recorded according to your specifications and how do we know that they are according to your specifications? Because you provide us with those instructions through our software!

Will They Communicate With You?

You want to know that your pet sitter will communicate with you and how. Will it be daily? Every visit? Once in a while? Never? How will they communicate with you? Email? Text? Phone call? A part of our scheduling software allows us to communicate with you at any time.  We send regular updates at every visit so that you can rest assured your pets are being cared for.

So, when looking at what pet sitting cost there is a lot to take into consideration there is so much more than price lone when it comes to the important task of taking great care of your pets.

Please Contact Us To Find Out More About Our Pet Sitting Cost and What We Will Provide You and Your Pets.

 

 

 

 

 

6 tips for Taking Great Pet Pictures

Woman taking a picture with a dslr camera

Great pet pictures take creativity and patience.

We all love our pets but taking great pet pictures can sometimes be a challenge. Here are some tips for taking great pictures of your pets.

Adorable pug and cute cat lying together on sofa

Decide where you want to take your pet pictures and set the scene.

1. Set the Scene

Visualize what you want the picture to look like. Are you looking for a posed shot or something more candid? Do you want a picture of your dog lying in the green grass or on a comfy bed or sofa? Maybe you want a more candid shot of your pet playing with his or her favorite toy or friend. Think about it and set up your scene as much as you can. This will be easier to do if you are looking for indoor shots. 

Cute dog near window at home

Use the natural lighting from a window to get great pet pictures.

2. Light it Up

If you are looking to photograph your pet indoors make sure the room has plenty of light. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on additional lighting, you can bring in lamps from other rooms or you can purchase clamp lights fairly inexpensively at your local big box home improvement store. You can position your pet near a window making sure the light is in front of them and not behind them. 

Dalmatian dog head shot

Get your pet’s attention for great pet pictures

3. Attention Please! 

In order to get great pictures of your pets, you need to get your pet’s attention! For cats, it may be their favorite feather toy. For dogs, any toy with a squeaker usually works as long as they are not noise sensitive. It helps to have an assistant that can get the pet’s attention while you are taking your pet pictures. 

Grey cat playing with feather teaser toy

Using your pet’s favorite toy is a great way to get perfect pet pictures.

4. Get on Their Level

Try to at eye level with your pet. Try lying on the ground to get as close to their level as possible. Pet pictures taken at their level are much more interesting and natural. 

photographer taking a picture of her mixed breed brown dog

Patience is key for taking great pet pictures.

5. Take a Lot of Pictures

In order for you to get that perfect shot, you will probably have to take a lot of pictures. You can put your camera on burst shoot away. This is especially true if you are trying to get that candid shot while your pet is playing with their favorite toy or at the dog park.

Woman Taking Picture of Dog

Patience is required when taking pet pictures. So is having fun!

6. Patience

You are not going to get the perfect picture on the first click of the camera. Your pets are not always going to cooperate. There will be times when they just get up and walk away or walk up and put their wet nose all over your camera lens. But with patience, you will get some great pictures you will cherish forever. The most important thing to remember is to have fun and you will get great pet pictures.

 

Do you have a great pet photography tip? Please share it with us!

 

The Importance of Early Puppy Socialization

Two puppies on gravel surface

Puppy Socialization needs to start early

As the owner of a rescue dog who was not properly socialized at an early age, this subject is near and dear to my heart. Because of my dog’s lack of early socialization, he is fearful and reactive. Maybe I am being wishful, but I can see the amazing dog he would have been if he had been socialized early. Don’t get me wrong, he is a wonderful dog, my husband and I love him very much, but if he had been socialized early I think his life would be so much richer and much less stressful.

What is Puppy Socialization?

There is a critical socialization period for puppies that happens between 3 and 12weeks of age. This is when puppies learn about the world and how to become part of it instead of letting it be a big scary place. This is the time when your puppy determines whether people, in general, are good, whether men with beards or wearing hats should be avoided, that children are fun, wet grass is okay to walk on, other dogs are friends, cats are cool, and the list goes on and on. Any experience the puppy is exposed to should be approached so that it is a positive experience for the puppy.

Why Should You Socialize Your Puppy Early?

Small white dog barking while on leash

Puppy Socialization can prevent reactivity.

Socialization is important for so many reasons. Dogs that are not properly socialized tend to be generally fearful of anything new. A leaf blowing down the street or a bicycle left lying in the grass could be enough to make your dog try to run away in fear. Fearful dogs are reluctant to move toward anything new. If you want your dog to enjoy adventures such as a trip to Starbucks for a Puppuccino or to your nearest home improvement store, socialization is extremely important. If a dog was not handled during that all-important socialization period it makes prove difficult to do such common things as grooming and veterinary exams. Fearful dogs can become reactive dogs. A trip to the dog park? Not if your dog wasn’t properly socialized around other dogs. Puppies need to be exposed to a lot of different dogs in a positive way in order to sharpen their dog body language skills. That dog you see on the street that is barking lunging and growling is usually so afraid they just want you to move away from them. It’s the only way they know how to deal with what is scaring them.

At What Age Should Puppy Socialization Begin?

A puppy should start being handled for very short periods of time when they are just days old, but if you don’t have the opportunity to visit your puppy from the time they are born socialization should start as soon as you get your puppy home. While a lot of training facilities offer puppy kindergarten classes they require puppies to have all puppy vaccinations before starting their puppy class. If your puppy has not yet received all of their puppy vaccines check with your veterinarian to see if they hold or know of a puppy preschool class in your area. Puppy preschool classes are for puppies that have not yet had all of their puppy shots. These classes are held in very clean, controlled conditions to limit the risk of exposure to disease.

How to Start Socializing Your Puppy

Two puppies playing in a kiddie pool fill with plastic balls.

Puppy Socialization should be fun for your puppy. Introduce them the lots of new things in a positive way.

While you want your puppy to be comfortable in a variety of scenarios and around lots of different people, dogs and items you must make sure that every exposure is a positive one. Get your puppy enrolled in a puppy class or contact a certified dog trainer to help you with socialization. Expose your puppy to new things slowly. If you want your puppy to have doggy friends, make sure those dogs are fully vaccinated and friendly. Handle your puppy daily, touching all parts of their body including their ears, paws, and nails. Gently lift the flaps of their gums and inspect their teeth. Expose your puppy to new surfaces such as grass, gravel, concrete, sand, tile and laminate floors, carpet, etc. While you want to introduce your puppy to lots of new people, never force your puppy to meet someone or do something as this may actually increase their fear. Use lots of really yummy treats to make each new experience a positive one.

If you would like to learn more about our puppy socialization program, please contact us.

You Can Prevent a Disaster: A Step by Step Guide for Teaching Your Dog to Wait at the Door

Dog in front on door with leash resting on paws.

Teaching your dog to wait at the door may one day save their life.

You are running late and need to leave for work. You say goodbye to your beloved pooch and open the front door to leave. Just then your pup gets a twinkle in his or her eye and out the door they bolt with you running behind them yelling for them to come back, pleading with them to come back, begging them to come back, but your adorable dog is playing keep away and catch me if you can. Ugh! You are going to be late for work, again! If only you have gotten out the door faster! But wouldn’t a better way be that your dog had waited at the door and never went through unless he or she was granted permission to do so? Teaching your dog to wait at the door will not only help you get to work on time but may save your dog’s life.

Here is a Step by Step Guide to Teaching Wait at the Door:

Start working on this exercise when you have time. Do not start working on this when you are in a hurry, you are distracted, you are stressed, or your dog needs a walk or potty break.

Step One

Peron with a dog on leash at a door.

Start with your dog on a leash when teaching them to wait at the door.

You will start teaching wait at the door with your dog on a leash. Have him or her sit at the door and slowly turn the doorknob. If your dog continues to sit open the door slowly, an inch or two at a time. If your dog gets up and moves towards the door, take your hand off the knob or close the door and try again. Be careful when you are closing the door that you do not close it on your dog. You want to keep your training sessions short and end on a high note, so if your dog will sit and wait at the door while you turn the doorknob, give him or her a release word such as “okay” or “let’s go” and take them for a nice walk. Unless your dog does not enjoy walks, the act of taking him or her for a walk should be reward enough.

When you get back from your walk you can have another short wait at the door training session. Make sure you use your release word and take another short walk.

Step Two

Step two is the same as step one, but just a little more difficult for your dog. Open the door a little wider and ask your dog to “wait” for a second or two. If your dog gets up, make sure you close the door and try again. If your dog stays put for a second or two use your release word “okay and take your dog through the door and for a quick walk. When your dog can wait at the door without trying to walk through the door a minimum of four out of five tries you can proceed to make it even more difficult with the exercises in Step Three.

Step Three

Now you will challenge your dog by opening the door even wider. Work on this until you can have the door fully open and your dog will not attempt to go through unless you give him or her the release word.

Dog in crate with the door open,

Teaching wait at the door can be used to teach your dog to wait in their crate.

This is only the beginning! Work on this behavior with your dog exiting their crate and your car. And just because your dog knows to wait at your front door doesn’t mean he or she will know to wait at your back door, so you will need to work in different locations within your home too. You will also need to work on how long your dog will wait at the door and you will want to proof for distractions. It’s great that your dog will wait at the door when there is nothing going on, but will he or she wait if another dog walks by? You will also want everyone in your home to work with the dog. Your dog may wait at doors for you, but not your spouse.

While having a polite dog who waits at doors is wonderful, it could also save your dog’s life. A dog that knows to wait at the door is at less risk of getting lost or bolting into traffic.

Have you tried this exercise? What is your biggest challenge? Let us know!

 

Lost Pet Prevention: 7 Tips for Protecting Your Pet

Lost dog poster on light post

Lost Pet poster.

July is Lost Pet Prevention Month. It only takes a second for one of our beloved pets to get away from us and become lost. Here are 7 tips for keeping your pet safe so that you can prevent having to go through the heartache of losing your precious pet.

1. Entryways

Always make sure doors and windows are secure. It only takes a second for your beloved pet to slip out of a door that wasn’t properly latched or an open window. Teach your dog to wait at doorways until released. By teaching this valuable cue you could prevent your dog from walking or running out the door and becoming a lost pet before you even realize he or she is gone. Ask your friends and family to be quick when entering and exiting your home so that doors do not have to be open for too long.

2. Gates and Fences

Before you let your dog in your yard make sure all gates are closed and latched. It a good idea to do periodic checks of your fence perimeter to look for holes or gaps your dog could slip under or through. And never leave your dog in the yard unattended. 

3. Collars and Harnesses 

Avoid a Lost Pet, make sure your dog has a properly fitting collar with an identification tag.

Make sure your dog’s collar or harness fits properly. A loud noise or aggressive dog could cause your dog to panic and back out of his or her collar or harness. Always keep a firm grip on the leash when out for a walk.

4. Recall

Teach your dog to come when called. This could save your dog’s life in numerous situations, but if your dog does get away from you a good recall could prevent your dog from running away and getting lost.

5. Seatbelts and Crates

Avoid a lost pet when transporting to your veterinarian or groomer. Secure your pet in a crate when in the car.

Always have your pet secured in a crate when transporting him or her to the vet or groomer. If you have a large dog, you can secure them in a harness that attaches to your car’s seatbelt. Pets can find travel stressful and if they accidentally get loose in a strange environment they may startle and run. 

6.Identification

If your dog or cat does get loose it is important for them to have identification so that you can get your lost pet back to you as quickly as possible. Your pets should have a collar with an ID tag attached. But tags come loose, and collars come off and get lost so your pet should also be microchipped. Read our blog on microchipping to learn more about this invaluable form of identification.

7. Proof of Ownership

If your lost pet is found, you will probably be required to show proof of ownership. Having your pet’s records and a few photos of you with your pet will go a long way to you getting your pet back quickly.

Contact us to learn more about teaching your dog to wait at the door and come when called.

Choosing a Dog Walker? 5 things to Look For and Consider

Dog waiting and begging to go for a walk with the dog walker.

Is your dog left at home for long periods of time because you work long hours, you have a long commute, or because you are often asked to stay late? Or maybe you would like to stay at work later to work on that well-deserved promotion. No matter your reason you have decided you need to hire a dog walker to come in and give your dog a much-needed potty and some exercise break during the time you are at work. But how do you go about choosing a Dog Walker that is right for you? Here are 5 things to consider.

1. Are they a professional Dog Walker?

A lot of people offer to walk dogs to earn some extra cash, but are they true professionals? Do they have the availability you will need? What happens if they are unable to fulfill their commitment to walk your dog? Do they have an emergency plan in place?

Another thing to consider when choosing a dog walker is do they know how to handle emergency situations when walking your dog? Do they know what to do if they encounter an off-leash dog? Do they know how to keep your dog safe during hot summer walks? Will they be able to manage if your dog should become ill? Have they had any formal pet first aid/CPR instruction?

A lot of people love dogs, but not everyone can be a dependable, skilled Dog Walker.

2. Are They Online?

There are so many ways to check out a company. Read reviews from some of their clients via review sites, such as Angie’s List.

Do they have a professional presence on social media? What kind of information are they writing about and sharing?

Visit the website of the company you are considering. Do they make contacting them easy?

3. Ask Your Friends and Family Who Their Dog Walker Is.

Dog walking with a dog walker.

You most likely know someone who has a dog. Who do they use to walk their dog? If they love their Dog Walker they will be happy to share their experiences.

This is also a great way to find out what dog walking services their dog walker offers and why they chose to use that company.

If your friends

4. Can You Call and Talk to Someone?

What better way to start learning about a business than picking up the phone and talking to someone. It will give you a chance to not only learn about the people working for the company but also learn about what services they offer.

The initial contact with a company will give you a good indication of what you can expect in the future. 

5. What Types of Walks Do They Offer?

Professional Dog Walker Exercising Dogs In Park

Dog Walkers may offer group walks as well as private walks. While it is lovely to think of your dog out with a group of his or her friends on a group walk, it may not be a situation your dog is comfortable being in. If your dog is not the social type, walking with a group of dogs may not be fun for them. You should consider your dog’s comfort level around other dogs.

Private walks give your dog more one-on-one attention. If your dog is not the social type, private walks may better suit them. On a private walk, your dog will be able to go at his or her pace, taking time to take in the scents along the way. Getting a chance to sniff is very important to your dog’s health and well-being.

Contact us to learn more about our commitment to providing you and your dog with the highest standard of service and care.

 

 

 

 

What is Ehrlichiosis and How Can It Affect My Dog?

Here in South Florida, we enjoy warm weather year-round. We have the luxury of taking our dogs out with us to enjoy the Florida sunshine throughout the year. Ticks love warm weather too. The tick-borne disease, Ehrlichiosis, is found in dogs more frequently than you might think. In fact, there are some veterinarians who think their canine patients should be checked yearly for the disease just like they are checked for heartworm.

What is Ehrlichiosis in Dogs?

Lone star tick in finger

The lone star tick is one of the most common ticks to spread Ehrlichiosis

Ehrlichiosis is a bacterial infection that is caused by a tick bite. The rickettsial organism is responsible for this tick-borne disease. There are two types of Ehrlichiosis in dogs: Canine Granulocytic Ehrlichiosis and Canine Monocytic Ehrlichiosis.

How Can My Dog Get Ehrlichiosis?

Ehrlichiosis is transmitted when a dog is bitten by an infected tick. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the lone star tick is the most common tick to carry Canine Granulocytic Ehrlichiosis. The brown dog tick is the most common transmitter of Canine Monocytic Ehrlichiosis. As the name implies, the brown dog tick feeds mainly off dogs and is, therefore, most commonly found in areas where dogs frequent, such as dog parks.

What Are the Symptoms of Ehrlichiosis In Dogs?

Dogs infected with Ehrlichiosis may show symptoms such as swollen lymph nodes, fever, weight loss, lethargy, lack of appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, lameness, chronic eye inflammation, fever, respiratory distress and bleeding conditions, depending on the type. Occasionally there are signs of neurological disorders. When dogs are exhibiting these symptoms, they are at the chronic stage, having had the infection for some time. 

Dog being examined by veterinarian

There are several symptoms your dog may exhibit if infected with Ehrlichiosis.

Dogs in the early stages of the disease do not normally show any signs. One of the ways the disease may be diagnosed early is if blood is taken and shows a low platelet count. Some dogs that are exposed, never show any signs of the disease.

How Can I Prevent Ehrlichiosis In My Dog?

There is no vaccine for the prevention of Ehrlichiosis, so the best way to prevent the disease is to protect your dog from tick bites. Talk to your veterinarian about the best tick prevention for your dog.

What Happens If My Dog Is Diagnosed?

The most common treatment is the antibiotic doxycycline.

If your dog is experiencing a bleeding disorder, a blood transfusion may be necessary.

Once your dog receives treatment the prognosis for a complete recovery is good and you should see improvements within the first day or two.

Can I Get It?

Yes, but only from a tick bite. You cannot get it from your dog as the disease is only transmitted through tick bites.

Ehrlichiosis is a very serious disease and it is wise to check your dog regularly for ticks. Please make sure you know the correct method for removing ticks as doing this incorrectly can cause the tick head to break off and cause infection or cause the tick to excrete more saliva increasing your dog’s chances of becoming ill.

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